Of the nearly 5,000 Tim Hortons outlets, its newest franchise just outside of Oliver can safely be said to be one of a kind.
That’s because the building, located in the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Senkulmen Business Park at Highway 97 and Enterprise Way, has 500-year-old cedar sentinels guarding its entryway.
The structure is designed to blend with its scenic surroundings, capitalizing on the spectacular views of nʕaylintn (McIntyre Bluff). The park is 135 acres in size.
The franchise owners, along with dignitaries including OIB Chief Clarence Louie and government representatives cut the ribbon Saturday to officially open the new business.
Occupying the space along with Tim Hortons, which is now open, is a Gulf fuel station which will be in service in the coming weeks.
The new business is a collaborative effort on the part of Ontario businessman Landon Miller, the OIB, Ecora, along with NHL legend Ted Nolan and family. It has been over two years in the making.
“It’s been a lot of work but we are just so glad to see this location now open,” said Miller. “Now, given this opportunity, we’re going to do all we can to work with the community. We strongly believe that you take care of the community, the community will take care of you.
“You’re going to see us very active with this business in the area. We’ll make sure that happens.”
Miller and Nolan also opened a Tim Hortons full-service restaurant for the first time in history on Indigenous land in Ontario in 2016, in the Six Nations community near Brantford, Ont.
At the time Nolan described the opening as a “good statement” showing the country that First Nations people are able to own and operate their businesses on their own land.
The franchise opening Saturday was also victory celebration for Chief Louie and the OIB.
“This is another important step in the Osoyoos Indian Band bringing jobs and money to the local region. It’s also the best looking Tim Hortons you’ll ever see anywhere,” said Louie. “For the Senkulmen Business Park this is the third or fourth opening we’ve had here and we look forward to more. Right now we’ve got a lot of people kicking our tires about leasing land here and whether or not? Hopefully, we’ll see.”
Coun. Dave Mattes of Oliver was also happy with the number of new jobs, 22 at Tim Hortons (seven Okanagan Indian Band members) and eight at the Gulf station and convenience store (called nʕaylintn station, pronounced ny lean tin) the business will bring to the fast growing area.
“Anytime we can create jobs in the South Okanagan that’s a good thing,” said Mattes. “Tim Hortons is known for hiring young people and if we’re going to keep young people in the Okanagan, we need more businesses like this. It’s a great starting point for young people.
“The Osoyoos Indian Band has done a great job with the corrections centre down the road creating 400 to 500 jobs and that’s been a great boost for the economy. Living in Oliver, we’re building houses like crazy, the whole South Okanagan is busy because of it.”